Va. town tries to prove existence of 'ghost cats'

BLACKSTONE, Va. (AP) -- Reports of cougar sightings in the Appalachians get a skeptical hearing from wildlife officials.

But in Blackstone, Va., Sue Cobbs saw a big brown cat with a long tail chased a deer through her back yard in June. A month later, she saw one outside her neighbor's house.

Cobbs is sure they were cougars, which are also called ghost cats, catamounts, pumas, mountain lions and panthers.

Since 2003, the local newspaper -- the Courier-Record has -- run at least 15 stories on local cougar sightings.

But in over 100 years, only 64 sightings in the eastern United States -- outside of Florida -- have been confirmed, according to a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist.

One was a cougar kitten was hit by a truck in Kentucky in 1997.

A network of motion activated cameras, including some in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, have captured images of many animals, but never a cougar.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Join the Conversation!

To comment, the following rules must be followed:

  • No Obscenity, Profanity, Vulgarity, Racism or Violent Descriptions
  • No Negative Community Comparisons
  • No Fighting, Name-calling, or Personal Attacks
  • Multiple Accounts are Not Allowed
  • Stay on Story Topic

Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.

Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to Please provide detailed information.

powered by Disqus


6450 Papermill Drive Knoxville, TN 37919 Phone - (865) 450-8888; Fax - (865) 450-8869
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2014 WVLT-TV Inc. - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 28653094 -